As mentioned in this thread: Flash Flag: Added safety or dangerous to use?
I recently ordered some flash flags to try and make me a little more visible on my commute. I figured I would do a quick write-up for anyone else that might be interested in these devices.
Not long ago someone mentioned the flash flag to me as a means of staying visible on the road. According to the flash flag company some comprehensive tests done in Great Brittan and Europe have proven them to drastically reduce bike/ automobile accidents.
I began searching for the flags and soon realized that these things are not very popular here in the states. I found this place in Canada: http://www.flashback.ca/bicycle.html
After doing some more poking around I found this blog from a gentleman in California that had some for sale. http://nollij.blogspot.com/2007/02/f...them_1576.html
I followed the directions listed on the blog and received my flags very promptly.
FWIW, there also appears to be an alternative horizontal flag called the D-tour safety flag. http://www.bikecommuters.com/2007/08...st-impression/
Search results on where to purchase one of these came up empty handed as well.
Doing some more research it appears that some people swear by them, and some hate them. An example of the latter can be found in this blog by a triathlete that claims the flag did little or nothing to prevent close calls from traffic.
I have heard the argument that perhaps the flag would portray the false impression that the driver was actually riding to the LEFT of where they actually were, thus increasing the likelihood of right side accidents. I also reviewed the statements about the ineffectiveness of the flag and the "dork factor" from the triathlete and came to this general conclusion:
In my experience, the more effort you put into getting noticed by drivers, the more space you generally get. I noticed a drastic difference riding in a hi-vis jacket, having multiple rear strobes on my bike and installing a large amount of reflective tape. Each one helped me to be better seen by motorists which in general seem to appreciate the effort. It also makes you look more professional- I/E you aren't just some thug out barhopping and getting in their way, but rather an upstanding safety-conscious bike commuter or cyclist. As for appearing "dorky" I will gladly increase my "dork factor" if it saves my life in the long run. Furthermore, I have concluded that the city the triathlete rides in is much larger than anything I have to deal with, so I figured in my case the flash flag would be worth a try, especially at 10$.
The flags I received were professionally shrink wrapped and seem to be fairly durable. They are also visible enough with two reflective strips on them.
(quarter shown for size reference) The one complaint I have is that the flags seem a little small. Reading the instructions it seems that there are two flavors of these flags, one "road bike" flag which is 13" in length, and another "commuter flag" which is 17" in length. The flags that I received were the smaller ones, but with the difficulty in finding these stateside I guess beggars cant be choosers.
The bracket that mounts the flag is another sour spot from what I had read- so I expected fitment issues. The bracket is basically made for the tiny road or touring bike tubes that are becoming increasingly unpopular amongst cyclemakers. Ian from the blog where I bought these offers an ingenious solution of using the original set-screw and running it through a hose clamp in order to make them fit on larger tubes, but I had a better idea in mind. I should also note, that while mocked up I was able to pedal like normal and had no interference with the flag. once in a while when I went to dismount the flag would hit the rear of my left leg while I put my foot down but nothing while riding the bike itself.
Here is the flag mocked up the way it is designed to fit on most regular bikes:
the flag also features a neat hook, that allows you to clip it down and out of the way when it is not needed:
I opted to mount my flag on my Topeak rear rack (which serves as my fender). I took some electrical tape and taped the area on the rack rail to mount the flag to, then with a piece of rubber from some other bike accessory, made a shim for the clamp. This mounting also projects the flag out further away from the bike, and keeps it better out of the way. It also mounts it higher for better rear visibility.
As for riding impressions: I havent compiled any yet, but I will do so shortly and report back to see if I feel more safe/ visible out there on the road with this flag installed.
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Thread: Flash Flag Review
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